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A mealybug on a cassava stem
A mealybug on a cassava stem
Pascaline Minet

GENEVA — Between a mission in Ethiopia and a meeting in Rome, Hans Herren stops over in Geneva to speak at a conference at the World Trade Organization. The Swiss agricultural engineer is a world-renowned expert in insects who has spent most of his professional life in Africa. During the 1980s and 90s, he established a massive program to combat an insect that destroyed yuca (also called manioc, or cassava) crops. The project is credited with averting famine for literally millions of people.

Herren, 66, now devotes most of his time promoting “green” agriculture techniques to the public and to politicians. For his efforts in that domain, he was awarded the 2013 Right Livelihood Award — also known as the “alternative Nobel Prize” — given to distinguished individuals who work on environmental or development issues.

Born in 1947, Herren grew up in Vouvry in southwestern Switzerland, where his father had a tobacco farm. He continued his studies in agricultural engineering at the Zurich Engineering School, where he specialized in entomology, the study of insects. Then he went to the University of California at Berkeley for two years to deepen his knowledge of organic insect control — an approach that consists of fighting agricultural pests with their natural predators, usually other insects.

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Families wait for news of their missing relatives following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday

Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Barev!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where 21 are killed in a school shooting in Texas, Davos focuses on Ukraine, and a vertigo-inducing world record is broken at Mont-Saint-Michel. Die Welt also offers a psychoanalyst’s perspective on how war survivors pass trauma onto their children.

[*Armenian]

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